A few months back, Anny and I were in the mood for some good old fashioned tapas, so we headed to Manzanilla in Gramercy. The wine selection here is plentiful and the food preparation refined.
It smooths out the rougher edges of traditionally bold Spanish cuisine, keeping the region’s characteristically striking flavors but in a very edited fashion.
Take the tuna tartar immersed in a cloud of frothy uni cream. Underneath it all you’ll find a delicately portioned mound of really fresh fish and cubes of avocado. It’s visually larger than life, much like the in-your-face seafood you’ll find in Spain, but then polished to into this stunning dish that’ll leave you wanting more. The uni flavor is there without you ever biting into actual uni.
Same goes for a special I had that day. Steak with a punch but pulled back with a muting peas- and beans-based sauce and fresh mushrooms.
We also shared a hazelnut cake dessert, which displayed more of the technique and delicate craft of the chefs behind the curtain.
The sampling here doesn’t do Manzanilla’s menu justice. If not for the food, ordering simply to admire the skills required to prepare some of these dishes is alone worth a couple trips here when you’re craving a full sensory experience.